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5 Dog Games That Practice Stay


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Looking for fun ways to practice commands with your dog? All you need are some of their favorite toys, treats and some outdoor space. These five dog games will get you and your dog moving with the bonus of practicing your dog’s “stay” skills.

Five dog games that practice stay

If your dog already has the “stay” cue nailed down, try these games to reinforce it and have some fun. Most of these games can be played indoors, but you may want to step outside for any game that asks you to throw something.

1. Red Light, Green Light  

Supplies needed: Throwable toy, treats

Difficulty: Easy

Where to play: Backyard/outside

Call your dog to your side and tell them to stay. Show them one of their toys to get them interested in it, then give it a throw. Repeat the stay cue. After a few seconds, let them chase after the toy.

This dog game pairs nicely with fetch if your pup knows how.

2. Puppy in the Middle 

Supplies needed: Frisbee/Throwable toy

Difficulty: Easy

Where to play: Outside

Sit your dog between you and someone else and tell them to stay. Walk a few steps in opposite directions and then repeat the stay cue. Start tossing the frisbee or toy back and forth. 

After a few tosses, it’s time to throw your dog a bone (or in this case, frisbee). Toss the item away from both people and tell your dog to go get it. Add in a fetch to get them to retrieve it so you can start again.

Start each round off in the same position. Tell your dog to stay, then slowly back away from them. Increase the distance you back up each time to test your pup.

3. Hide and Seek 

Supplies needed: Good hiding spots

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Where to play: Inside and outside

This one works better with extra people. This works just like classic Hide and Seek. Instead of telling your dog they’re it, tell them to stay at the start of the game. You may also need to do the counting for them.

Once your dog is in position, everyone finds a hiding spot. One by one, each person yells the dog’s name to get the dog to find them. You can even replace their name with a cue like come to practice along with stay. 

Once your dog finds everyone, go back to their starting position and tell them to stay. Just like with Go Find It, you can hide a little further in each new round.

4. Go Find It

Supplies needed: Toys

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Where to play: Inside

Start off somewhere your dog has a good view of most of the room. Show them their toy, then tell them to stay. Go hide the toy, starting off easy by showing your dog where you hid it. Tell them to go find it in an excited voice. Give them a heap of verbal praise once they uncover the toy.

Take them back to the starting position, tell them to stay, then hide the toy in a new spot. This time hide it a little further away to make it a little more challenging. Tell them to go find it and see how long it takes them.

Keep going back to the starting position to get your dog to stay. Make each new hiding spot a little trickier than the last, eventually hiding the toy out of your dog’s sight in other rooms. You can get a lot of mileage out of this dog game!

This game was recommended to us by Margaret MacEwen at Super Fine K9. Check out her other suggestions for indoor dog games.

5. Shell Game

Supplies needed: Plastic cups, treats 

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Where to play: Inside

Grab your dog’s favorite treats and some plastic cups. Sit your dog down and tell them to stay, then set up the cups a few feet away from them. Show them the treat then hide it under one of the cups. Wait a few seconds, then give them another peek at the treat under the cup to get their mouth watering. Give it a few more seconds, then tell them to come get the treat.

If you want to increase the challenge, mix up the cups to see if your dog can keep track of the treat. 

Discover more dog games

Get more training tips with our guide to how to teach your dog to stay and ideas for activities you can do with your dog indoors.

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